Sunday, February 24, 2013

Improv"ish" wall hanging - completed

Phew.  I'm going to say this was challenging.  Really the challenging bits were switching between the walking, 1/4" piecing and FMQ feet over and over again, and the thread, oh the thread!  This was the first time I've tried Aurifil in my new machine and it did NOT like it.  Then it didn't like it more.

Come to find out I was automatically putting all my thread in with the label to the left like  I've always done, but one variegated thread I was using had the label on the opposite end so it was feeding the wrong direction.

Well once I got THAT sorted out, things got easier and much more fun (and PG13).

There's not a lot to say about this, it's a thing! Despite my best intentions of improv/randomness doing, I still found my colorful bits lining up in organized little rows.

Used this as a good excuse to practice some different FMQ patterns, and I included some fabric that had some handstitching on it, just because I didn't have any other purpose for it ;)  Anyway, this finished at 24" by 24", and I still have to attach something to it for hanging, as classy as the push pins look!

My favorite part is the itsy bitsy spider from Nursery Versery, I just love this guy with all my heart. I mean that kinda looks like I made another storm cloud and rain above him, right?  I feel so artistic!

I had fun making this, and am already planning another mini (the fractured pervalong) for next month.  I like that they require more attention to detail, which is a skill that I'd love to cultivate!

am I supposed to trim all those stray threads before I take a picture???

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sunday Sewing - New York Beauty

My lovely sister came over to do some sewing with me this weekend.  She worked on hand stitching a chevron pillow cover she's in the middle of, and I decided to tackle another quilt long from 2012... nothing like not feeling current! :p

A year ago Sara at Sew Sweetness did a New York Beauty Quilt Along.  I'd wanted to try some NYB blocks since I saw them.  Now that I have some foundation paper piecing blocks done I thought I would risk trying these out.  Now uh... I'll also admit a few months ago I cut a template for one of them out and into little bits because I didn't know foundation paper piecing and english paper piecing were two totally different things :o  I feel much wiser today.

I managed to put together Blocks 0 and 6.  Block 6 gave me some trouble with a couple pieces just not seeming to fit right.   Per usual I had emailed myself a copy to the blog posts and tutorials for every single block I wanted to make, then forgot to actually look at them when I started work (though there are lots of GREAT tips on them so I hope I get around to that sometime....).

Something may be off with my printing, these are supposed to be 8" blocks but mine are finishing at 7.5" . There's rippling in a couple places so I imagine I have some ripping apart and resewing to do on these. On the bright side I didn't have a single issue of not having enough fabric overlap, so that's a win!

It's hard for me to work with muted colors (not that these really count as muted do they?), and I'm not sure if I'm in love with these yet.  I really want to start all over again and go bright and saturated, but I'm resisting the urge.  My plan is to make 8 of the blocks and to use them for a pillow cover.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Subject Mishmash, and NSFW

Happy Valentine's day all! We are going out to our regular old Mexican restaurant where it is not going to be crowded or overwhelmingly romantic, then I'm getting into PJ's and we are going to watch  2010's "Valentine's Day" which I'd managed to avoid watching so far.

I've recently finished up a couple of sewing projects, and gotten into a new embroidery.
First I made a mug rug (5" by 7"), and I liked how it looked so I made a hot pad too.  Pretty simple, colorful scraps around a central rectangle. Batting for the mug rug, batting and insulated padding for the hot pad.

Very nice to find a way to use up some of my colorful little scraps.  Despite my fear of soiling the cleanliness of the hot pad, I had the nerve to rest a hot pan on it yesterday, and it emerged unscathed.

I'm also working on a new embroidery.  I've based the hair, at least, on a lovely drawing. hopefully I'm altering it enough that the artist wouldn't be offended.  I realized how rusty I am at drawing people's faces, and I'm not sure how it will turn out.

It's just nice to have some needlework to have for those times I want to be crafty but not get onto the sewng machine.

Of  the two less palatable subjects in his post, the first is me making a determination of  my blood type.  I never think to ask them to check it for me when donating blood.  Turns out you can find it out easily without a Dr's visit, and I got a kit from Amazon and tested myself.

To avoid the sight of blood (I'm sure somebody out there is a vampire, queasy at the sight of blood, or both) it's after the break

Monday, February 11, 2013

February Blocks

I managed to my blocks for a couple of BOM's done this weekend.

And Sew On... February block
First was "You Little Ripper" for the And Sew On... BOM at Quiet Play.  I was nervous because it's the first time I've done such little pieces in paper piecing, but it worked ou OK. When I sewed the sections together, the seam ripper didn't line up.  I grabbed an actual seam ripper, took it apart, sewed it back together with about the same results (it does look more crooked in person) so I'm just going to let it be.  Once I have all the blocks done I will probably feel up to fixing any of my errors that will bother me if left as is.

With the learning curve for all these bits I'm being pretty random in my fabric selection, but there are a couple of blocks I really love from this series that I plan on making second ones of after I've gotten through the trial and error phase, and I'll have a better idea how to choose just the right prints for them then.

Lucky Stars BOM - January

After looking at my January block for the Lucky Stars BOM and really thinking about print choices, decided I probably wouldn't be happy with the results at the end if I didn't switch to solids.  Since I'd gotten the Kaffe Fassett shot cottons without a plan in mind for them, I thought they might work well for this, so I redid January's and made February's in the same night..

Getting the hang of paper piecing seems more difficult some days than others (I still keep forgetting to read directions...) I actually made blocks backwards..TWICE since I wasn't reversing the imagine in my head as I went, so I have two extra blocks from February's star.

Lucky Stars BOM - February
On the bright side it encouraged me to get busy thinking of my quilt back design and how to incorporate them, so at least they won't go to waste! 

Things aren't lining up and matching perfectly for me all the time, and neither of my January blocks seem to have quite enough of a seam allowance for two points (top and bottom ones in the above picture).  On top of that the shot cottons are thinner than a lot of quilting cottons, and seem a bit more prone to wrinkle up as I sew them, but I like how they are looking so far and I imagine the fabrics will look absolutely gorgeous on sunny days!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tax Time Fabric Purchases & Reviews

Nothings celebrates an email that the IRS has accepted your federal tax return better than a bit of a fabric shopping spree.  I ordered all of this before our electrical fire actually...but I've decided I'm not going to regret the decision since I can't send it back.  Besides, if I didn't have a room full of fabric what would I bat flames out with?!

do I need to say Heather Ross Mendocino?
I did it, I finally broke down.  My purchase came from janeymac on Etsy, wrapped with some pretty twine.

Just a little bit, I could justify a mini $20 bundle after coveting it for an entire year.  The only thing that could've been better was if there were underwater mermaids in the lot. And maybe if it had some stuff from the aqua colorway...  And a bit of Far Far Away unicorn too... and just a single owl and pussycat floating on the sea.  Still crossing my fingers there will be a reprint of this line someday!

sew me a song
Sew Me a Song  This is my second purchase from Rebecca.  Neither of the places I do most of my ordering from had all the Architextures prints I wanted, neither of them had any of the ledger prints.  One benefit of purchasing here is that I can get fat quarters of individual fabrics without having to order a full  color story of something.  Also I read that she was offering a few scrap packs for sale, so I got nosy.

sew me a song scrap pack
This is a great version of what a scrap pack should be from a shop professesing to center on Japanese and contemporary cloth, varied sizes/shapes and a lot of variety.

Many of the scraps I'll never have a use for & truth is if I never see a chevron  again I'll be happy (Besides having made bedroom curtains out of them, I've gotten a dozen different scraps with my scrap packs in the last 6 months).

There's a lot of texty bits, some I already have, some I just wouldn't have bought an entire FQ of.  Having little bits of them is just awesome, they will lurk in my stash for months or years just waiting for the right moment.. The only caveat I'd add is to warn that some of the text prints ran 4x36" if that matters to you.

Last but not least, Hawthorne Thread got a big variety of Kaffe Fassett's Shot cottons in.  I'd purchased several from purl soho last year and loved them, so I was just waiting for them to come in before pouncing on the inventory.  Restocked my magenta and got half yards of seven other colors too.  It also seemed a good time to go back and get a few Pat Bravo prints that came out before I started quilting.

Hawthorne Threads

I love the depth of these solids, some of them are iridescent, some aren't.  I'm impressed I resisted trying all the colors...but I'm full of restraint!

All of my purchases came quickly, were well packaged (including in doubled up water resistant packaging, which is wonderful here on the west coast.  I have no plans in particular whatsoever for any of this, which is indulgent isn't it?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rainbow Road Table Runner

I feel like a complete slacker when it comes to Curves class.  I plan on doing a number of projects from it, but with BOM's and sew alongs, and etc .... I found it easy to procrastinate, especially as I'm not GRADED on turning in assignments on time ;)  Nevertheless I buckled down to start something, and I managed to put this together over a weeks time.

I had charm squares, lots of charm squares, from two Kona swaps I participated in.  I'd used most of my favorite colors for other things already, but this seemed to be an excellent way to use up some of the ones I wasn't so enamored of.

I planned on making  a full width tablecloth,  I tried out backgrounds of white, beige, of grey, but none of them looked right.  I liked how it looked against the black of the table but I didn't have enough black fabric for that so I decided keep it as a table runner. 

This was the first time I used the walking foot that came with my new machine.  I was amazed at how much of an improvement it was over NOT using one, man, if you don't have one but your sewing machine can use one, order one now!

I quilted it with straight lines 6" apart & a chevron pattern 3.25" apart.  I decided not to square it off and let it be a bit more organic but I may recut the right side to make it curvier.  The edges were folded under and sewn instead of using binding.

My husband's input was "looks like Cinco de Mayo" leading me to imagine that it won't be on the table year round...or maybe he just means it makes him want a margarita...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Improv"ish" wall hanging

I just checked out Quilting Line and Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts by Yoshiko Jinzenji from my lovely library.  It is full of interesting techniques, and all sorts of projects that are outside of my comfort zone.  Abstract art of any sort makes my head hurt a bit usually ;)

So I want to challenge myself this year - not that I'm in a rut since I've only been quilting for less than a year...  but I am hoping to encourage my mind to be more creative.  This project will be a wall hanging, so I don't feel I'm being roo risky!  Even though there are lots of wonderful projects in the book, I thought use the one on the cover as inspiration

I like how trying to do this is making me uncomfortable.  I really prefer organized patterns and neatness, things that match, symmetry....Not really sure where I am going with this but its my start!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Herringbone Triple Zip Pouch

Yay I got this done.  This being the Triple Zip Pouch sew along going on at A Quilter's Table.  Debbie is local to me, and her tutorial is amazing, which is a clear sign that grunge music is not the only great thing to ever come from Seattle!  I'm still trying to figure out why I don't do a better job of reading directions, and make so much more work for myself.  Part of the problem was that I started before I had my new order from Zipit so a week later I had forgotten everything and I manage to mess it up in a few ways, including sewing the top two pieces on upside down.

My favorite phase on this text fabric is "Stitch by stitch she pieced her soul together" and I truly do feel that sewing is amazing therapy for the soul.  The fact it follows up with some nonsense about goats just makes it all the better.

Herringbone in Lake from Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry
Memoir in White from Madrona Road - Michael Miller Fabric

Sadly as I was finishing up the pouch this morning, the programmable thermostat in the living room started smoking, then burst into flames.  Actually it was really fortunate I decided to sew just then, or I would have been in another room instead of present to put it out quickly.  I actually grabbed something off my design wall to bat at the flames, nobody ever said I was great in a crisis!

My husband has been reluctant to have me paint the room a more subdued color (which is odd since I'm the one who has to do the painting), but although I loved this color originally, it's been on the walls five years now, and since I'm making so many colorful things for the house, I think we really need a neutral.  I'm going to look at this as fate telling me it is time to paint things beige!